A burly six-footer "Palm-Tree Hitter" who faced the likes of Fred Trueman, Wes Hall, Roy Gilchrist and Charlie Griffith with aplomb, Polly Umrigar was a completely different person off the field, who once approached teammate Bishan Singh Bedi with a humble request to help him make tea with a tea bag.
Mourning the recent death of Umrigar and Hanumant Singh, former captain Bishan Singh Bedi described the self-effacing Polly Kaka as almost a naive off the field.
"Polly was in the room next to mine at Christchurch in New Zealand. One day he came to me to ask about how to make tea with pouches provided to him.
"And after I told him to dip the tea bag in warm water, he went back to his room but ended up dipping the milk powder pouch, also without opening it!" Bedi recalled last night.
Former cricketers and administrators of the game assembled in New Delhi to mourn the death of Umrigar and Hanumant Singh.
"Indian cricket is poorer today by their absence. The loss of them is a bigger blow to Indian cricket than what is presently going on in South Africa," he said.
The legendary spinner described Umrigar as a naive character but stressed that everything changed when he was on the cricket field.
"Everyone has to go at one point of time or the other and it's time to celebrate the achievements of the two giants for what they had done in their cricketing years," he said.
Bedi, who was also joined by some others who have seen Polly from close quarters, said he never shied from throwing himself in the ground even though there were no laundry allowances in those days.
"They were cricketers who have contributed not only in their playing days but also after they retired. They did a lot of service without asking anything in return. It only shows how attached they were to the game," said former opener Chetan Chauhan.
Another former player, Surinder Khanna, said Polly was a teetotaler and if anyone wanted to hit a six, one should definitely learn the art from him.
Atul Wasan, Rahul Singhvi, Prakash Bhandarkar were among others present to pay homage to the past greats.
Umrigar died on November 7 while Hanumant Singh passed away on November 29.